Electing Howard County Board of Education Members By District Vote Gets One Step Closer

In 2020 we get to elect Howard County Board of Education members by councilmanic districts in Howard County…and the current law would make those races countywide…but thanks to the endless work from Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary…we are one step closer to correcting that glitch in the law and electing members by district by district vote. This was the intention for the law since it was first introduced back in 2016. Here is a quick history of what has happened year after year so far:

  • 2016: Bill introduced and killed at the local level
  • 2017: Bill introduced again and changed and passed to elected HoCoBOE members (5 of them) by councilmanic district but by countywide vote. The other two are elected at large by countywide vote.
  • 2018: No action taken on this bill
  • 2019: Bill reconsidered to elect (the 5 up for reelection in 2020) by district vote and not countywide vote

So what happened between 2016 and 2019 to allow this bill to be corrected…Maryland State Senator Kasemeyer retired…that was the hurdle at the state level that did not allow it to pass in 2016…and then messed it up in 2017…now in 2019….this new HoCo Delegation in Annapolis has agreed to fix it (by unanimous vote this week)…at least so far.

Now this bill heads to committee…and hopefully passes…then to votes in the Maryland House and Senate…then signed by the Governor…then it is law and will be the law of the land going into the 2020 election.

I have been following this item since Delegate Atterbeary first introduced it…and super excited she did not give up on it…and now we are one step closer to it being the way it should be….also happy to see Delegate Warren Miller be on board with this law early on and a great supporter of this legislation. Those two are the ones we need to thank for making this happen….as well as be thankful that State Senator Kasemeyer retired…I respect him…but he and I were on different sides of this issue…and if he were still in office today…I am not sure this bill would have made it though the local delegation and into committee in 2019.

The Baltimore Sun wrote a recent article on this issue:   https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ph-ho-cf-delegation-school-board-election-0131-story.html. Of course they ignored the history of this bill in their article (for the most part)…but give it a read anyways…because I still support local news….even when it is not great.

My favorite part of this bill is that we finally get a representative from district 3 (my district) on the board…and that person (if this bill passes) will now be elected by residents in district 3…and not by residents in districts 1,2, 4 and 5 electing that member on the BOE…and we will finally have geographic diversity on the board here in Howard County.

I would think that Carleen Pena might run again in 2020 for the HoCoBOE in District 3 (that is the rumor I have heard…no confirmation as of this post)…so that is something to watch…others that might give it a go are Hiruy Hadgu or Steve Hunt (both ran for Howard County Council in District 3 and lost in 2018)…of course if none if these people run you might get Scott E for HoCoBOE from District 3 in 2020 (no you will not…but it rhymes and makes for a good campaign slogan…LOL).

The 2020 election promises to be wild…so stay tuned…I have LOTS of information to share with you about that race in the coming months.

Scott E

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